Islamists, far-right on rise in Germany: security service

27th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Germany's domestic intelligence service warned Wednesday of a rise in the number of radical Islamists, as well as of far-right extremists furious over a mass influx of mostly Muslim refugees.

Around 790 Islamic extremists have now travelled from Germany to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and of these about one third had returned, the service said in a report.

Of the total, about 130 were believed to have been killed in the conflict zone, according to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution or BfV.

The service said that most of Germany's jihadist "foreign fighters" are from the ultra-conservative Salafi movement, whose numbers it put at 8,350, up from 7,900 in September.

The service's chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, said that in about known 230 cases, Salafi groups had tried to make contact with asylum-seekers near refugee shelters.

Meanwhile, heated debate over last year's 1.1 million-strong migrant influx was strongly mobilising far-right xenophobic groups, he said.

"There is the threat of an emerging grey zone of far-right extremists, right-wing conservatives and citizen-protesters, with considerable potential for violence," said Maassen.

He said large-scale sexual assaults targeting women on New Year's Eve in the city of Cologne, blamed largely on North African men, had further "radicalised the anti-asylum-seeker agitation of far-right extremists".

Maassen also said that Germany remained on high alert after the Paris jihadist attacks in November, describing the security situation as "serious".

© 2016 AFP

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